17 Jul 2020

Between the Shadows (Alice Guimarães & Mónica Santos, 2018)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ out of 10☼

Once in a while, a (short) film comes along and steals your heart. In this particular case, heart-stealing is also the trigger of a quirky story told from the perspective of a protagonist, Natália (Sara Costa). Stuck in a dead-end job (that requires an extra pair of attachable hands), she is a clerk in a bank where people deposit their hearts instead of money. After being contacted by an enigmatic private eye (Gilberto Oliveira), her tedious life gets injected with a risky dose of excitement and eventually, she is faced with a choice of giving up her own heart or keeping it for herself.

As we follow our heroine and her newfound friend evading some pesky shadow agents, Guimarães and Santos pull us ever-deeper into a surreal world that is an overt, passionately written love letter to the 1940s film-noir and art-deco aesthetics. They make brilliant use of a bewitching combination of stop-motion animation and live-action imagery gorgeously photographed by Manuel Pinto Barros, and perfectly complemented by decidedly retro, smoky-jazz-bar-esque score by Pedro Marques. Aware that every second matters in a tight time-frame, they resort to witty and imaginative transformations of the intricately crafted mise en scène, frequently relying on dream logic. To put it simply - their work oozes with so much (hyper)style that it can easily act as a substitute for substance. Add to that many bizarre details with little devils in them and you have yourself a definite must-see!

The film can be rented @ Vimeo on Demand platform for a very affordable price.

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